15. Goodness (God) Really Exists
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II was looking through a telescope far from city lights. It was dark. Someone came over and asked if they could look through the telescope. As he looked at a star far away, I asked if he felt the awe of the distance, of a photon created thousands of years ago hitting his eye and becoming part of him.
Then I asked if he believed in God. He said "No" rather plainly. So I asked him if he believed in Goodness. He said no again.
Trying to make a point, I said "Can I be bad and give you a kick?" He said "No!" I said "Well you want me to be good? He said, "don't kick me, yes I believe in you being good." I said, "then goodness exits". He thought for a moment and said, "ok, you are right."
What is Goodness?
So what are the good things? Goodness is anything that promotes love, harmony or beauty. The soul in a man is that part of a man that seeks goodness and recognizes these things.
How the words "love", "harmony" and "beauty" delight the heart everyone who hears them! One may wonder what it can be in these words that is able to exert such unnatural power upon the human soul. From: The Sufi Message by Hazrat Inayat Khan Volume VII, In an Eastern Rose Garden.
What is Good Depends on the Relationship
For two spiders who are ready to mate, nothing is more beautiful than the other spider. Yet if the spiders are in bed with a human, the spiders are no longer good. They are the same spiders, but the relationship has changed. Spider to spider is good, but spider to human is bad.
You see, goodness requires the observed and observer just as perception does. For instance, if we could not spot a tiger in a picture as it was turned upside down. But when it was turned right-side down, we see it. The same image was reflecting the same light, the same colors, yet our understanding was required to made us see. A different set of observed and observer makes the relationship between the two spiders and between man and the spiders
What is Important Determines What is Good
Maslow defined a series of "needment" levels. If there is an issue at a certain level, then it is important to address the issue. Issues on lower levels are often addressed first. If you are being chased by a bad guy, this takes priority over other needs.
The lowest level in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is physiological needs such as breathing air. Then there are safety need, social needs and esteem needs. The highest need, "self actualization" is the need to do what seems deep down the right thing to do.
However lower level issues can be ignored. Consider the guru who was hanging from a small root and was about to fall down a high cliff. The guru saw a rose and contemplated the rose, having one last good feeling before dropping down the cliff to his death.
Common Ideas in All Religion
The general idea of do unto others as you would do unto yourself seems to be found in different languages in almost every religion. This rule is termed the golden rule as it is so basic. Everyone is Right by Roland Peterson expands on these universal truths. There are many more common truths that are found in Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism and Taoism such as believing in something bigger than ourselves.
Non-common Ideas in All Religions
In the past, Christianity has fought science while the Islamic Faith and the Baha'i Faith have promoted science. The guiding idea is that one picks the ideas that are seem right from all sources and leave the rest. Some may argue that this is playing God.
The Blind Man and the Elephant
When we play God we might get only part of the story. There is a story of the blind men and the elephant. The first man feels the strong legs and says "it is like a tree trunk". The next man thinks the tail is a rope, and the next man thinks the trunk is like a fire hose. So they argue, it's a tree trunk, it's a rope and it's a fire hose. By integrating what all the impressions, one can get a general description of the elephant.
Thus we must have a spiritual education and devote much study if we are to hopefully see the whole elephant. By going to many religious centers, one can gain more insight into what is good and true.
Divinity is the Highest Good
Ideally, absolute holiness is the highest good. This highest good is surrounded not by dogma, but by peace and long term joy.
"Peace and joy is our goal. Even the so-called nonbeliever or atheist, who would ignore the church or even burn down a temple, is after some peace and joy."
-Swami Satchidananda Beyond Words, page 2.
"There is no virtue better than the cultivation of universal love. No happiness sweeter than mental tranquility, no truth clearer than the understanding of natural phenomena, no religion higher than moral and intellectual development... "
Ven. Dhammananda -Page 9, What is this Religion, Buddha Educational Foundation, Taipei, Taiwan.
Talking to God
By remaining still, looking for the highest good, and doing prayer work in your own way, there is a good chance you will hear a small voice. Is this God?
The inner self is made up of layers. As we go to higher levels, there is an interface with the God. For me God appears as thoughts from a higher realm. This is how many inner ear works. Some people can visualize God, or hear His music.
These communications are modulated by ourselves, so we have to be careful not to fool ourselves. The inner eye must be trained to look clearly. Some people seem to have an easier time being close to God and they might be said to have a high spiritual IQ.
Tuning of the Soul
To tune the soul means to become closer to perfection. Here are some of the things that need to be done:
1. Have lots of motivation. Find your talents and go for it. Use your gifts. Believe in yourself. For example, you could have a gift to be social and help others. Wonderful. There is so much satisfactions in teaching, and other forms of help.
2. Have lots of impulse control. Develop good habits and get optimal performance. Bring your full intellectual resources to bear on a problem and pick the best thing to do.
3. With lots of perseverance don't give up unless something is clearly fruitless.
4. Pick your most perfect abilities and put them to work.
5. Translate your best thoughts into action. Great ideas need Some people seem buried in thought. They have good ideas but rarely seem able to do anything about them.
6. Concentrate on the main result and then the processes will follow.
7. Enmesh into the details, and complete tasks. Let things draw to a close.
8. By pass fear and start new projects.
9. All things equal, do the hardest thing first and get it out of the way, and things will not pile up. Fear of failure. People may not reach peak performance because they avoid the really important challenges in life.
10. When in doubt, do it now and thus avoid procrastination.
11. It is great not to blame anyone including yourself. Be here now and start on the best path moment by moment.
12. You can make yourself happy almost all the time. Know this and avoid feeling sorry.
13. Self reliance is the ticket and depend on others only has needed.
14. Concentrate on the task and schedule time to work on personal difficulties. Keep happy. Give things prospective
15. Have long attentions spans.
16. Spreading oneself too think or too thick. Undertaking too many activities may result in none being completed on time. Undertaking too few can also result in missed opportunities and reduced levels of accomplishment.
17. Inability to delay gratification. Some people reward themselves and are rewarded by others for finishing small tasks, while avoiding bigger tasks that would earn them larger rewards.
18. Inability to see the forest for the trees. Some people become obsessed with details and are either unwilling or unable to see or deal with the larger picture in the projects they undertake.
19. Lack of balance between critical, analytical thinking and creative, synthetic thinking. It is important for people to learn what kind of thinking is expected of them in each situation.
20. Too little or too much self-confidence. Lack of self-confidence can gnaw away at a personís ability to get things done and become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Conversely, individuals with too much self-confidence may not know when to admit they are wrong or in need of self-improvement.
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Copyright © 1997 - 2007 by George Norwood